ISLAMABAD - The opposition yesterday rejected Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s excuse that media had misreported Nawaz Sharif’s statement on Mumbai attacks and they staged a walkout from the National Assembly for Abbasi’s expressing support for the PML-N supreme leader on this controversy.

Speaking in the house on Tuesday, PM Abbasi strongly backed Nawaz saying that the former prime minister did not need a patriotism certificate from anyone.

“The person who turned Pakistan into an atomic power despite immense (international) pressure is facing treason allegations,” said Abbasi, defending Nawaz and expressing his dismay over the reaction of opposition parties against him in the media.

Abbasi also offered to the parliament to form a “truth and reconciliation commission” to determine the ‘real traitor’.

The premier said the India media gave a twist to the statement of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz PML-N supreme leader about Mumbai attacks. “The Indian media used it for their purpose,” he said.

“This interview was misreported,” he asserted and said that Sharif did not say that the militants were sent on purpose from Pakistan to carry out attacks in Mumbai. “Are we going to let ourselves be played by India?” he asked the opposition members.

“On the same matter, Pervez Musharraf, former ISI DG Shuja Pasha and Gen Durrani have already given statements,” he pointed out.

About the National Security Council meeting, Abbasi said the huddle was called to present the PML-N government’s stance on the issue. “We have rejected the claims that the people were deliberately sent from Pakistan to India,” he said.

The prime minister faced sporadic interruption during his speech from opposition benches. The opposition lawmakers chanted slogans such as ‘Modi Ka Jo Yaar Hai- Ghadar Hai Ghadar Hai’, ‘Sharm kro Haya Karo’. The opposition members also staged a walkout over the issue.

“We are staging the walkout from the proceedings over the remarks of the prime minister,” said PPP MNA Aijaz Jhakrani.

PTI MNA Hamidul Haq also made a failed attempt to suspend the proceedings by pointing out quorum but the required strength was present in the House.

Jhakrani, taking part in the debate, sought the reasons for calling the NSC meeting. “What was the rationale behind giving such a statement near the general election?” he asked.

PTI’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi, on his turn, said Sharif should explain the need for giving such a statement. “Action is also required on misreporting [if any],” he said, mentioning that Pakistan can slip from grey list to black list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

MQM lawmaker Saman Sultana Jafri condemned the statement of Nawaz Sharif and feared that the statement could invite international sanctions on the country.

PPP MNA Shazia Marri said Sharif’s statement has hurt the very sentiments and emotions of the people.

Jamaat-e-Islami’s MNA Sahibzada Tariqullah proposed to thoroughly investigate the matter.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement, at the fag end of proceedings, staged a walkout over FIA actions against the party members.

“Notices were issued against me and my family (wife) by the FIA DG... I demand a ruling from the chair on it,” said MQM’s Khwaja Sohail Mansur. “If no action is taken, it will be a message for us (lawmakers) to evolve our own strategy,” he said.

His stance was fully supported by IPC Minister Riaz Pirzada. “This insulting behaviour should stop,” the minister said.

The MQM MNAs staged the walkout from the proceedings when no ruling was issued by the speaker.